World Economic Forum – W*** **E F*** ?
Have you heard of Davos? I had, vaguely. I thought it was a group of rich and powerful people who got together once a year to chat and network and invite some of the more interesting members of the lower orders – ex-prime ministers and presidents, Swedish schoolgirls – to come and entertain them with their thoughts. What could be more normal? Renaissance princes did the same. Machiavelli was an entertaining conversationalist by all accounts, and Leonardo da Vinci was a fiend for inventing riddles, as well as playing a mean lute. Ricky Gervais would have had a hard time competing.
I’d never looked further than that, because of a vague feeling that it was a bit – sticky – as a subject. Just as uttering the words “international finance” can get you labelled as an anti-semite, so uttering the word “Davos” can get you labelled as a conspiracy theorist. Now I’ve come out, and I don’t care, so I went on the Davos site to find out what they’re up to.
“The World Economic Forum is the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation” they say.
The organisation, note, not just an organisation. If you’re going to divide the planet up into two parts, private and public, and claim to be the organisation that links the two, you’re obviously carving out quite a position for yourself.
The headlines on their front page today, 17 July 2020 are:
– It’s time for a great reset of Africa’s e-health systems. Here’s how
– To reinvent the future, we must all work together
– A blueprint for business to transition to a nature-positive future
– COVID-19’s legacy: This is how to get the Great Reset right
It’s time for… Here’s how… We must… A blueprint to transition… This is how…
The tone is pure “the Conversation,” except that the authors are not, or are no longer, post doctoral students, eager to make their voice heard in the hubbub of academia. They’ve made it (mostly) as founders, heads, chairmen, directors of this or that (plus an advisor to the Prime Minister of Ethiopia – the only author who indicates the remotest indication of something that might resemble a link, however weak, with democratic politics.) This is top people telling the rest of us what we must do. And how.
Scrolling down, one comes to “In the News:”with links to two articles from the Guardian, and one from CNBC, all about the coronavirus:
Then “Racism and racial injustice,”with nine articles:
– 5 ways racism is bad for business – and what we can do about it
– The legacy of ‘redlining’. How earlier urban zoning reinforces racial segregation
– We ignore the power of symbols at our peril’ – architect David Adjaye on why racist monuments must be replaced
–Have we finally reached a moment of promise and possibility on race?
–After the George Floyd protests, what next for racial justice in the US?
–4 ways to be an ally in the fight against racism
– We existed in parallel universes’ – what it’s like to be black in Silicon Valley
–Responding to the anger
–George Floyd: How to address America’s racial disparities
Then comes Popular Videos:
– This 13-year-old has a powerful message about social activism
–A vaccine for COVID-19 has been called ‘the world’s exit strategy’
–7 stark statistics that show how deep racism runs in US society
–Building a truly green economy is one of the most important challenges for the world after coronavirus
– Now is the time to press the reset button on capitalism
Then comes Coronavirus, with nine articles, and Pride Month 2020 with nine articles about LGBTIQ, or sometimes just LGBTQ, or even LGBT+. (What’s been added, and what’s being left out, I wonder, from what used to be a simple Bacon Lettuce and Tomato sandwich?)
And then “Global Agenda” with nine articles, all about Covid 19, including:
– 6 ways businesses can turn COVID-19 uncertainty to their advantage
(What? Only Six?)
And finally, “More on Climate Change” with just six articles, all posted in the last five days.
And that’s it for the front page. It’s evident from the above that the World Economic Forum is a highly efficient far left organisation focussed on the subjects of pandemic mitigation, race, sex and climate change, and devoted to promoting radical change in the way the world treats these problems.
They have a page titled “Our Mission” which says:
The World Economic Forum is the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation. The Forum engages the foremost political, business, cultural and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas. It was established in 1971 as a not-for-profit foundation and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. It is independent, impartial and not tied to any special interests. The Forum strives in all its efforts to demonstrate entrepreneurship in the global public interest while upholding the highest standards of governance. Moral and intellectual integrity is at the heart of everything it does. Our activities are shaped by a unique institutional culture founded on the stakeholder theory, which asserts that an organization is accountable to all parts of society. The institution carefully blends and balances the best of many kinds of organizations, from both the public and private sectors, international organizations and academic institutions. We believe that progress happens by bringing together people from all walks of life who have the drive and the influence to make positive change.
Er, that’s it.
I don’t want to harp, but it’s a bit thin as a political programme. Which doesn’t matter of course, because the WEF is not standing for election. They’re merely telling those who are standing for election what to do, and how. And how.
There’s a lot more, of course. Under Why does our work matter? You can read:
Our world is an interconnected system straining under the burden of its own complexity.
Under What makes us unique? there’s:
Deeply anchored in the public and private sectors, the Forum is the only global organization serving this role, bringing together the world’s foremost CEOs, heads of state, ministers and policy-makers, experts and academics, international organizations, youth, technology innovators and representatives of civil society in an impartial space with the aim of driving positive change. The Forum is unique in this regard because we are Impartial. We have no ideological or commercial interests.
And there’s a list of trustees, all of them important. You may have heard of Mark Carney, Kristalina Giorgieva, Al Gore, Christine Lagarde, Jack Ma, or H.M. Queen Rania Al Abdullah of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Many of them are utterly decent people you’d be happy to stand a pint for with at your local.
The only thing they all have in common is that they are all filthy stinking rich, and the only far left subject not treated on their admirably wide-ranging site is the question of wealth distribution. Because that’s what being impartial, and not having any “ideological or commercial interests” means, doesn’t it?
These intelligent, civilised people support the programmes dear to the hearts of all liberals and lefties from Joe Biden to the mad Savanarolas at Extinction Rebellion, but they have no ideological or commercial interests of their own. Ideology? Commerce? Al Gore is not interested. And nor is H.M. Queen Rania Al Abdullah of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (who, by the way, seems to be a thoroughly good egg.)
There’s so much more on their site. I can’t even find now the bit where they list their overseers, or mentors or academic guarantors or whatever they call them, which include MIT, Harvard and Oxford and Cambridge Universities. And why shouldn’t the world’s greatest centres of learning lend their prestige to a bunch of filthy rich squillionaires busy licking the toejam of Black Lives Matter? Isn’t that what they’ve always done? Henry VIII, or the self-proclaimed leader of the Seattle squat, what’s the difference?
Vice Chancellor: Fing is, we’re against racism, right?
Assembled Professors: Right.
Vice Chancellor: And we’re against climate change, right?
Assembled Professors: Right.
Vice Chancellor: OK then. So we’re for Al Gore and Mark Carney and the rest of the Davos crowd, right? So translate that into Latin please, and I’ll sign it, and there’s an invite for me to Davos next year – free skiing and a chance to mingle with the nobs.
There’s something terminally weird about the Davos crowd cozying up to Black Lives Matter or Extinction Rebellion – like the Emperor Caligula making his horse a senator. This was a sign that all was not well with the Roman Empire, which nonetheless survived for another four centuries.
May our civilisation do as well. Al Gore is no Caligula, after all. He’s about a million times richer, for a start.
[PS: On the subject of George Floyd, the black man apparently murdered by a white police officer, I’ve read that they knew each other, since they both worked as security guards at the same night club. Like you, I’ve read quite a few articles on the subject, But I haven’t seen one which raised the question of why a policeman would need to supplement his income with a second job.]
Ah, yes Geoff It’s the New World Order – Communism for the rich and Capitalism for the poor.
Your sentiment is spot on, however I would offer that what Davos has evolved into is a tyranny of imperialist oligarchs, who will allow the rest to scramble for their crumbs, as long as proper obedience and homage is paid.
That Gore is apparently very high in the leadership of this dystopian despotic organization is yet more reason for gratitude that he did not become President of the US.
I think the one ray of hope I’ve read about recently is that Boris banned his ministers from attending meetings in Davros, whether that will turn out to be significant, I have no idea.
Thanks for another excellent article embracing many of my pet hates, from CACC scaremongers like Gore, to anarchists like the leaders of Extinction Rebellion, the “far left”, con merchants, environmental activists, etc. Ladt but by no means least there is CoVid19 and racism .
Most of us are adversly affected by the self-serving actions of the parties behind these and yesterday a couple of elderly (“white”) friends were on the receiving end of the last two. Out for a much-needed walk on a quiet but narrow lane, they approached another walker coming towards them. Quite reasonably, they stepped well to the side to minimise the risk of contamination from CoVid19,
The ludicrous reaction of this young (“black”) gentleman was to aggressively shout “I don’t have the virus. You’re only doing it because I’m black”.
That’s the same kind of irrational attitude of those who have recently demanded the removal of statues of historic figures who had some link to the despicable slave trade.
Also present in WEF are major NGO’s such as Greenpeace. Jennifer Morgan has been around the AGW block many times, over many years, in various incarnations, shape shifting from WWF to E3G to World Resources Institute and recently to Greenpeace.
“Passionate about helping countries, governments and individuals take positive action to achieve a zero-carbon future and strong proponent of the need of companies to “go green” and invest in sustainable technologies.”
https://twitter.com/climatemorgan?lang=en She has an extensive presence. At Davos she was nursemaid to Greta:
Also tied in with WEF is Mrs Stephen Kinnock, aka Helle Thorning-Schmidt, former Danish PM from 2011 to 2015. She was CEO of Save The Children International from 2016 until 2019 on a salary of £264,000 per year. Since 2019 she has been a Director of the major Danish wind turbine manufacturer, Vestas.
She is also a member of the board of the International Crisis Group, along with George Soros and his son Alexander. In addition she is a member of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, sister organization of the World Economic Forum, headed by Klaus Schwab. Husband Stephen Kinnock, MP, is a former Director of the World Economic Forum. https://www.weforum.org/people/stephen-kinnock.
Mrs Kinnock is now a co-chair of Facebook’s new Oversight Board, aiming to eliminate “fake news” about climate and covid. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/may/06/facebook-oversight-board-freedom-expression-helle-thorning-schmidt-alan-rusbridger
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Do you think that the WEF is working in collusion or opposition to the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative?
Dennis (1:54pm): Sorry it took so long to extract you from moderation, triggered of course by the number of links you provided. (Life is unfair, what with WEF and that.) Since Paul Matthews hasn’t been so focused on Cliscep we’ve been slower at picking up and releasing comments like this. I’ve only looked myself for the first time for a couple of weeks, having been busy and tending to do my other bits of cliscep admin on the weekends.
That’s OK Richard, thanks.
I doubt if any of the referenced stuff is more than front-of-house-fluff reflecting the latest fashionable memes. Climate change is the longest-established and deepest topic, in which most of the elite likely genuinely believe, yet this being a cultural belief they also ‘ subconsciously comprehend’ that one only has to virtue signal. And so at Greta’s second Davos performance, there were signs the assembled elite are already uncomfortable with someone who wasn’t just virtue-signalling. Which makes me wonder what they do actually talk about behind the scenes. It’s mostly “Wild parties and wilder schmoozing” according to the Sydney Morning Herald in 2018. In and out of the parties, probably very ordinary horse-trading is my guess, and none of it remotely connected to the front-of-house.
Which makes me wonder what they do actually talk about behind the scenes.
Which fabulously paid, but light work, positions are coming up in the NGO world, I imagine.
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It seem naivity of a mind boggling level to read what the Davis website says they are working on, then compare that with what is happening in the world right now, and then conclude Davos is just a bunch of bazillionaires and their lackeys around.
(apologies for the Falkneresque run on sentence)
Hunterson, if you mean by above that I think there isn’t a connection between Davos and what happens in the world, then not at all. For sure there’s a strong connection. But it’s not causal from the Davos end. For instance, did Davos have BLM all over its website in 2018 or 2019, say? Well I haven’t scanned in detail, but I think not; this is a reaction to something, not a cause of something.
…nor is that reaction significantly different to the virtue signalling and appeasement that unfortunately appears to be so common across (western, at least) societies.
My view of the World Economic Forum is that it reflects a syndrome that I first noticed about twenty years ago, which is that rich people in Western countries nowadays tend to be liberals. By liberals I mean ‘modern liberals’ or ‘progressives’, as opposed to classical liberals.
There was a time years ago when rich people tended to be right wing. For example Kenny Everett’s comedy sketch show in the early 1980s used to include a character called ‘Angry of Mayfair’.
The thing that first drew my attention to this syndrome was being a resident of the Tatton constituency in Cheshire. The seat had been won in unusual circumstances by an independent candidate, ex-BBC man Martin Bell, and for the 2001 General Election, the Conservative Party’s CCHQ imposed their own preferred candidate on the seat, who was some millionaire called George Osborne (real name Gideon Osborne).
I wasn’t too impressed by Osborne, he seemed to me to be very little different from the Lib Dems or New Labour. From that point I started voting for UKIP (and potentially other alt-right parties), even though (at that time) I wasn’t all that concerned about UKIP’s core issue of leaving the EU.
A few years later the Conservative party adopted David Cameron as leader, the first posh leader the party had had since the 1960s, and Cameron then filled up his shadow cabinet with other posh people including Osborne (the press nicknamed his shadow cabinet ‘the chumocracy’). The Consevative parliamentary pary had effectively been taken over by a group of rich liberals, and it wasn’t surprising that they formed a Coalition government with the Lib Dems a few years later.
The relevance of my former MP George Osborne to WEF is that he is exactly the sort of person who attends the Davos meetings. It wouldn’t surprise me if he has clocked up a couple of dozen attendances at Davos so far in his lifetime.
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Climate change virtue-signalling at the last few Davoses has increasingly clustered around Arctic Basecamp, a NERC- and EU-funded effort in which climate scientists and activists (mostly activists) fly to Davos to sleep in a tent. The tent-sleeping apparently highlights the importance of something or other to do with climate change. More obviously, it provides visiting celebrities with photo opportunities. For example, in 2019 a British singer called Ellie Goulding flew from Florida to Davos to wake up Basecamp’s ‘world-leading scientists’ and serve them their breakfast coffee in rCUPs, reusable plastic cups that are made from at least 40% recycled plastic.
Goulding went on to tell told the world’s leaders that they can get on the right side of history if they introduce regulations that will stop earthquakes being exacerbated by climate change. The face of Pantene Pro-V then boarded a reusable plane and flew to California as, far beneath her, a chain of earthquakes waved farewell in a somewhat exacerbated manner.
A few days later, Greta turned up for a photo op. She demonstrated her commitment to whatever it is that sleeping in a tent has to do with climate change by spending a night sleeping in a tent. That’s to her credit, I suppose.
The Arctic Basecamp was devised by Dr Gail Whiteman. She descibes herself as a scientist but is in fact an autoethnographer-turned-management-guru. Before Basecamp, she was most famous for co-authoring a controversially alarmist paper about Arctic methane (even SkS criticised it). Also perhaps famous for getting her MBA students to actually hug actual trees. And perhaps for saying that multinationals could learn a lot from how the Cree manage beavers.
Whiteman’s Arctic Basecamp tents are pitched every year in the grounds of a very expensive hotel that started life as a sanitorium and featured in Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain. It was founded on utter woo woo. Here’s its history page:
Yikes! With Bovis Energy Unit scores like that, everyone should live there in tents all year round, not just for a few days when the world’s biggest arseholes are nearby. Booking my flight now…
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Arctic Base Camp it ain’t!
The hypocrisy – it burns,
The shallowness – it burns,
The narcissism – it burns!
No wonder there’s globull – whoreming.
“…a very expensive hotel that started life as a sanitorium and featured in Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain. It was founded on utter woo woo.”
It’s funny that someone should mention the Davos Schatzalp, because I was only looking it up the other day. It has a reputation as being one of the most haunted hotels in the world. I cannot vouch for that since I have never stayed there. I have, however, stayed in the Hotel Schweizerhoff in Davos. In the dead of night I was awoken by the sound of someone trying a key in our bedroom door. After a while the attempted door opening ceased. “That’s weird,” I thought. A few minutes later, from within the darkness of the room came the sound of glasses clinking on top of the minibar. Very odd, since, as far as I could see, there was no one else in the room. The next morning my wife, who I had assumed had remained asleep throughout, asked if I had heard anything odd in the night and relayed exactly the same story.
Now that’s woo woo!
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Thanks Dennis for the never ending fund of funding information, and thanks Vinny for the revelation of what lies at the heart of Davos – a sanatorium for rich neurotics. This is from the site he links to:
On the terrace, long and nice,
Waits a cushioned lounge chair.
Stretch out to your full lenght there.
Trust its healing power while
You relish the beauty of nature!
We call this delight the “Rest Cure”.
Andy is surely right when he says that Davos exists to react to things, not to cause them. The question is, is there anything they wouldn’t find a way to react to positively, apart from total expropriation?
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How curious that the Davos get-together should be based at the sanatorium that forms the setting of The Magic Mountain. I don’t know how many of you have read it but it seems a fitting setting. Amongst other things, the novel is about the tide of sickness and neurosis that Mann saw sweeping over Europe in the early 20th c. Hans Castorp leaves the flatlands and goes up into the mountains to to visit his sick cousin . In turn, he gets diagnosed with a series of lung diseases which mean that it takes 7 years before he leaves and becomes a soldier in a dreadful war in which it seems that he will die. Meanwhile, while Hans is getting treated to courses in the major intellectual debates of the period – Liberal humanism, a radical totalitarian philosopher, Church versus state, Gothic versus Romanesque art, a disciple of erotic decadence, a naively Dionysian Dutchman – his cousin is cured and leaves the sanatorium, only to suffer a relapse, return there and die a horrific death. Apologies if you know this already and also my incredibly reductive summary of a very complex and ambiguous allegory. But it sounds like Davos, that clique of wealthy people interacting, but probably not debating with much of the intensity of Mann’s characters, all engulfed in their self-importance and only in the last 20 years indulged by the media, is an attempt to re recreate the isolated world, away from the flatlands, of the sanatorium, where no-one gets well again.
I had heard vaguely of Davos but I think it only really came to my attention when the then new CEO of BT, the Dutchman Ben Verwaayen, went there around 20 years ago and wrote a daily blog for the Telegraph about the all-important contacts he was making and the fascinating glimpses into the future he was getting from these incredibly exciting people blah, blah, blah. In some ways he reminded me of the strange Dutchman in the novel. To be fair, he did speed up the rollout of broadband in the UK and started off the network upgrade programme that gave Huawei an entry point. Who knows what happens at Davos? As I write this, no doubt a group of excited engineers are starting to work out how to extricate Huawei from the BT network.
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Geoff, I wouldn’t say that talking about the World Economic Forum and Davos would get you labelled as a conspiracy theorist. I suspect you may be confusing WEF with another organisation, the much more secretive “Bilderberg Group”. Talking about the Bilderberg Group might get you labelled as being a conspiracy theorist.
The last I heard about the Bilderberg Group on climate change was about ten years ago, and they were reputed to be concerned about global cooling, not global warming. James Delingpole wrote an article about it at the time:
MAN IN A BARREL
A good friend recommended – insisted – that I read the Magic Mountain forty years ago, and it’s been sitting on my shelf ever since, with a bus ticket dated August 2010 at page 30. This time I’m going to scale it “because it’s there,” but also because it’s very good. Davos is mentioned in the first sentence, and there’s a description of the sanatorium on page 7 which corresponds exactly to the photo at the link provided by Vinny.
I’m not at all worried about being labelled a conspiracy theorist. It’s in the nature of the ruling class to conspire against the rest of us. It’s in the nature of anyone who is sceptical about our rulers to try and unmask their conspiracies. Try and expand on this banal observation and some defender of the status quo (possibly a Professor of cognitive psychology) will start rabbiting on about Hillary Clinton, and a pizza parlour pedophile ring. This is all absolutely normal.